As with my other reviews, this won’t be a technical one because you can find plenty of them already. This is, by far, my most used lens on a daily basis, and in this post I will try to explain why it might also be for you.
What you get
As with all the lenses that Fuji makes, the build quality is excellent. Very sturdy, build with metal and compact. Thanks to it’s focal of f/2 the size of the lens is reduced and remains very light. Because of their little size and quality, some people have called these series of lenses the “Fujicrons” (as you probably know you will find a 35mm and a 50mm version of such lenses).
You also get weather sealing (WR). Being Weather Resistant, really makes it a great companion of those more “Pro” weather sealed models like X-H1, X-T4, X-Pro3 and older models.
The lens gets a focus ring (by wire) and a clicky aperture ring in the style of almost every Fuji X lenses.
The main flaw
Ok, let’s get this straight out of the way. This lens is really soft when shot at close range wide open and you will also get quite a good amount of coma depending on the light conditions It’s a fact, you will read everywhere about it and it’s true. Some reviewers and Youtubers have dismissed it for this very reason and will tell you to do so. If, like me, you can live with it, this lens will rapidly become a favourite of yours for the following reason.
An unmatched versatility
Being a 35mm full frame equivalent you can use this lens in a great variety of situations which makes it more susceptible of never leaving the front of your camera. You can use it for street, documenting, landscapes, city architecture, portrait and environmental portrait, travel etc.. which turns out to be very convenient indeed specially if you can’t or don’t want to frequently swap lenses (for example in bad or difficult weather conditions or terrain)
Let me show you some examples of how versatile this lens is :
Street / Documenting
You get the idea 😉
Even with it being a f/2 max aperture lens you still can use it for some situations not really meant for like a concert o when you need some bokeh for “artistic” purposes like so:
I didn’t get to try and use the f/1.4 older version of this focal lens, which gets a lot of praise in the Fuji world of reviews (rightly so apparently) but for me the f/2 has been my go to lens for the past two and a half years. I specially like it when I want to travel light, which is most of the time. To me, the combination of its small size and weight just strikes the right balance. I never hesitate to take it with me, even when I’m not sure i will use it. For what I do, for my style of photography this lens is plenty sharp enough if you use it for what it is intended for, don’t let some bad reviews deter you for giving it a try. It may not have the “character” that some older Fuji lenses have but it is nonetheless a beautiful lens to go out with and express your personal view of the world. I hope the examples I put for you will help you in deciding if this 23mm might also be the right lens for you.